Senate Committees have been respected as a serious part of government for decades, however today the committee system has been corrupted and made farcical by the combined actions of the Labor Party and Greens Political Party.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, which is chaired by Greens Senator Penny Wright and on which Labor and the Greens have a 4 to 2 majority, have selected a date for a Committee Hearing and have provided only one day’s notice.
Both government Senators on the Committee have long standing commitments on that day – a fact that was well known to the Labor and Greens Committee members.
The majority of the References Committee have also determined to call senior public servants to give evidence on one day’s notice.
I, as the Deputy Chair, received no notice or warning of this proposed hearing date and I have warned the Committee that from my discussions with the Minister, relevant witnesses would probably not be available at such short notice. This has made no difference to the Labor/Green majority who, in typical union fashion bulldoze through without any consideration for the Committee members.
Clearly this is another case where Labor and the Greens conspire together to set hearings down for days that they know Coalition members will not be available.
This is reminiscent of the Labor and Greens support for the Palmer United Party action to set up a Committee to enquire into the Newman Government with only one government member on a Committee of five.
This continued abuse of process will bring the whole Committee system, and the Senate, into disrepute.
The respect that has been built up over decades for Senate Committee work is being put at risk by this abuse of the process by Labor and the Greens.